Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Importance Of Reviews

A few years back I used to refer to Jane Yolen as my on-line mentor because I was obsessed with her On-line Writer's Journal. (If she knew I existed, she probably referred to me as her on-line stalker.) As with most of my obsessions, it finally burned itself out, and I don't go to her journal anywhere near as often as I used to. But the last couple of times I've been there I've found some very juicy stuff.

If you go to her Journal and scroll down to March 11, you'll see a fascinating post about how receiving no reviews for a book is far, far worse than receiving a bad review. Talk about "Telling the True."

Many years ago I was a member of a book club, and we were reading what I thought was a quite fascinating nonfiction book by a couple of professors at UConn. (I can't remember the title or the authors. Really.) It must have been my month to lead the discussion because I researched the book, looking for reviews, and couldn't find any. I asked my local librarian about it. How could there be no reviews for a book that was only a year or so old?

Her response? "The journals must not have thought the book was important enough to review."

I'm not scared of bad reviews. I would prefer not to get them, but I'm willing to take a punch because a bad review means your book is important enough to discuss. You're still a contender. But no reviews? That is my big fear.

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